Movie Review: Brooklyn (2015)

Brooklyn (2015)
Directed by John Crowley
Written by Nick Hornby

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Brooklyn tells the story of Ellis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), an Irish immigrant and her journey to find a place to call home. She leaves Ireland and sets off to the United States in the early 1950s, naïve and untouched by the world, she looks out to make a better life for herself in America.

Back home she leaves her mother (Jane Brennan) and older sister Rose (Fiona Glascott) behind, both of whom are sad to see her leave, but they understand that she must go. Ellis takes up residence at a boarding house in Brooklyn, filled with other Irish girls and run by land lady Mrs. Kehoe (Julie Walters) who adds in a lot of comical moments with her gritty humor. She also gets a job at a department store where she must quickly adapt to the ways of New York City life. Father Flood (Jim Broadbent) an Irish priest from her hometown helps her out by giving her advice and paying for her to attend bookkeeping school so she can start a new career.

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At first Ellis is extremely homesick, but soon that dissipates when she starts to find her own path. She learns how to be more social and then meets Tony (Emory Cohen), an Italian plumber at a dance and quickly the two hit it off. Their romance flies quickly and they fall in love, but then Ellis is called to go back home when tragedy strikes.

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When she returns to Ireland, she gets right back to where she left off, but this time things are better for her. There are more opportunities and she starts to grow fond of one of her guy friends Jim (Domhnall Gleeson.) He is an eligible bachelor and considered a catch in her town. Everyone wants her to just stay home and not go back, but she must decide between the comforts of home or the endless opportunities that are afforded to her in the US.

The film is sentimental and compassionate and offers viewers a simple story. There are no bells and whistles or action sequences, but there are beautiful backdrops of Ireland and New York City in the fall. Ronan does a beautiful job at capturing emotion and always brings warmth and excitement when she is on screen. It is wonderful to see the evolution of her as an actress and I look forward to only seeing her get better. Gleeson also stood out to me; he brought so much depth and feeling to his role and added the complexity it needed.

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What annoyed me about this film is that we have such a strong female lead, one where we see her take on obstacles in the new world and face many hardships head on. We see her grow and mature into her own skin, she is smart and tough all in one, but then the film depicts all of her problems being solved once she meets her boyfriend Tony. Life only got easier for her and everything about her quickly ends up revolving around him. She is happier and stops missing home when she’s with him and all the other girls are envious of her ability to catch a man. Even in Ireland, much of the story was centered on the possibility of getting together with Jim and everyone around her telling her what a great match he would be for her. The story would have been much more powerful had it stopped relying on so many of those fussy clichés.

Overall, I thought it was a sweet movie with beautiful acting, it felt like I was watching my grandparents tell the story of how they met. The costumes and landscapes were gorgeous and the entire movie had an old-fashioned tone to it. If you are a fan of romance and heart-felt dramas, then this is for you, if not, I would suggest renting this one.

}}Melissa

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Movie Review: Burnt (2015)

Burnt (2015)
Directed by: John Wells
Written by: Steven Knight

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Burnt is much more than a cooking movie, that type of movie has already been done, it is about redemption and humility in the face of greatness. Directed by John Wells and written by Steven Knight, the two come together to create a movie that is filled with drama and edginess at every corner.

Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) was once a top rated Michelin star chef cooking in Paris who had it all and threw it down the drain with drugs and alcohol. Now a reformed junkie, he looks to recreate the momentum he once had in the kitchen. When he walks into a restaurant, any room for that matter, his bravado and ego can be felt by all. He doesn’t play by the rules, it is what got him to achieve greatness, but he soon realizes that he has to pull back the reigns in order to succeed.

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Now living in London, he finds his previous maitre’d Tony (Daniel Bruhl) and makes a deal with him to allow him to take over his restaurant and do things his way. He promises he can transform his eatery into a place that all the critics will be raving about, but in order to do so Tony must take a chance on him.

His reputation still follows him everywhere he goes. In order to keep his spot, he must meet with Tony’s fathers’ analyst Dr. Rosshilde (Emma Thompson) and get drug tested on a weekly basis. Although Adam is reluctant he takes on the agreement and moves head first into the kitchen.

He hires a new staff and insists that up and coming Chef Helene (Sienna Miller) must work with him. The two have similar mentalities and he knows they can create beautiful food together. He also makes sure to inform all his old Chef friends, the ones he worked with in Paris under their culinary mentor Jean Luc; that he is back and ready to take on the food world. One in particular Reece (Matthew Rhys) now has a molecular gastronomy restaurant and is shaken up, enough to break tables and chairs at the news. Adam shakes up the culinary world and instills fear in his competitors, all who behave like little girls at the thought of being dethroned.

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The movie moves with frenetic energy, there are many close-ups of the sumptuous food and the audience feels like they are moving with the Chefs in the kitchen. We can see everything from the sweat beads off Adam’s face when he is in the midst of plating to the droplets of oil in the food. At points when he was walking through markets sampling food, it almost felt like we could smell the intensity of the foods and the rich aromas. I loved that the film gave us those sentiments.

Cooper worked with notorious Chef Gordon Ramsey on perfecting his chef persona and it can be felt in many of the scenes. The way he yells at his sous chefs felt real and the demands of the kitchen could be felt. Cooper did an excellent job and showed us once again that he knows how to dig deep and pull dramatic performances off without a hitch.

Miller was equally fantastic, she was as gracious as she was meticulous with her food and the way her and Cooper played off each other seemed genuine.

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I enjoyed this movie because it was not filled with clichés. There were no superfluous back stories going on, it was simply about the journey of one Chef and his ability to come back into his old skin without losing himself once again. If you like dramas mixed with comedies or you are a foodie who enjoys the beauty of a good meal, then this movie is right up your alley.

}}Melissa

Also posted on PinkEggMedia